Woman suffers from an actual broken heart following death of dog

Henrietta Strickland
October 22, 2017

Distraught woman, 62, literally suffered a broken heart after the death of her beloved Yorkshire terrier.

The case was recorded in The New England Journal of Medicine this week, not due to the dog's involvement, but because it was a "very concise, elegant case" of a fascinating condition that research has established as quite real and sometimes fatal.

The condition is properly called takotsubo cardiomyopathy, but it's more often called "broken heart syndrome". (Given that 735,000 Americans have a heart attack each year, that's not an insignificant number.) The condition overwhelmingly affects women from ages 58-75, likely due to dropping levels of heart-protecting estrogen.

Joanie Simpson, 62, was airlifted to hospital after suffering chest pains a day after the death of Meha in May past year. "The kids were grown and out of the house, so she was our little girl", Simpson, 62, told The Washington Post.

Meha's death from congestive heart failure devastated Simpson and a few days after the dog's demise, Simpson woke up with a back ache and chest pains, and she went to a local emergency room.

A woman suffered from a literal heartbreak when her pet dog died.

What makes this case and this study noteworthy is that common wisdom says that teaming up unwanted pets with lonely older people provides a better life for both.

Takotsubo cardiomyopathy usually happens following the loss of a spouse or child, hence why it is more commonly known as broken-heart syndrome. However, it does not include clogged arteries that occur during a heart attack.

"It was such a horrendous thing to have to witness", said Simpson. She adored jumping into the swimming pool, and when Simpson and her husband grilled on Friday nights, Meha was given her own hamburger. "I mean everything just weighs on you".

Simpson is taking two heart medications to control her symptoms. Only a pet owner can know the true heartache of losing their beloved companion. They give so much love and companionship that I'll do it again. That's not going to stop me'. It's the flip side of evidence that links pets to health and happiness, which gets more attention. I will continue to have pets. It can also cause weakening of the left ventricle of the heart.

The condition mimics the symptoms of a heart attack: the chest and back pain Simpson experienced, as well as shortness of breath, an elevated cardiogram and elevated cardiac enzymes, but without the clogged arteries consistent with a heart attack. Fortunately, most patients recover without any long-term heart damage.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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